INDIANAPOLIS– It’s often said, “Abs are made in the kitchen.”
However, for many of us, eating healthy is easier said than done– especially with the holidays approaching.
That’s why two brothers, one a former body builder and the other a self-taught chef, first opened Herculean Meal Prep at 3832 E. 82nd Street near the Keystone/Clearwater area.
The health-minded business got its start somewhat by accident when the two men realized their mission to get healthy themselves was an even bigger opportunity to help others do the same.
We’re eating good without the guilt on this trip In Your Neighborhood.
Around six years ago, Ben Canary found himself in a pretty relatable spot: he was out of shape and trying to get healthy.
“I kind of hit a plateau where I couldn’t lose any more fat,” he recalled. “And my brother was a bodybuilder for ten years so I asked him for some help.”
He was so invested in what he’d learned, the self-taught chef dropped out of school and moved in with his brother, Nate, to focus full-time on making meal preps.
“We both got in the best shape of our lives really really quickly. And the food still tasted good,” Canary said.
Their transformations garnered lots of attention and the brothers soon realized they had a business opportunity.
In the beginning, Canary said he was working 120 hour weeks making and assembling the meals, then driving to local gyms to sell the food.
In 2017, the brothers officially opened the Herculean Meal Prep brick and mortar location and the business continued to thrive.
“Now, we have two chefs and a whole team of people who are cooking and assembling the meals,” he explained. “We have a general manager of the kitchen… and we now have people in departments that are taking care of everything that it takes to keep the business running.”
What was once a small operation has since grown into a thriving business based on a simple concept: providing healthy single-serve frozen meals.
“Our meals or not just about getting in shape. They are really also for if you want nutritious meal but you don’t have the time to make it yourself,” Canary said.
They also take the guess-work and extra time out of meal prepping.
“We pre-portion out meals so it has a high amount of protein, a moderate amount of complex carbohydrates, and I would say what is an appropriate amount of fat… And it’s in one portion so you’re not going to overeat,” he explained.
The shop’s freezers are filled with over 25 meal options. There’s everything from fajita chicken to jambalaya, pumpkin chili, pastas and their newly launched pizzas.
“Most people who meal prep at home make a large batch of one or two meals and that is all you eat for the whole week,” said Canary. “Here, you can come in and get 14 completely different [meals] and each one of them if you were to make it at home it would take you hours and hours to make.”
Customer favorites include Sweet Potato “Totchos” and their number one selling Smoked Pork Mac and Cheese.
“We trim the fat and dry rub with some spices and we smoke it overnight with cherry wood,” he explained. “Then, we pull it by hand and we put it over mac & cheese.”
Plus, the Herculean chefs are continually innovating and introducing new meals.
“We have one new one… It’s chicken meatballs over a pasta with a red pepper pasta sauce that we make in-house, and it has a little parsley and goat cheese on it,” said Canary. “That meal just blew everybody away.”
But with supermarkets full of isled dedicated to pre-packaged frozen meals as well as various at-home meal kits, what makes Herculean different?
“I would say what makes us different than your average frozen meal is primarily quality and quantity,” he noted. “Usually when you go to your grocery store and you get a meal for like $2.99 or $4.99 it’s going to have less protein than our meals do.”
“And we actually cook all of our own food. It with almost all the commercially available frozen entrées they kind of put together pre-cooked processed ingredients they kind of just make it into a meal. And you can’t really tell a difference when you take one of our meals side-by-side with a frozen meal,” Canary added.
If you’re still craving something sweet or salty, check out the selection of reduced-guilt protein brownies, chips, sauces and other snacks.
Four Things You Need to Know about Herculean Meal Prep:
- Herculean Meal Prep was Indy’s first meal prep store. The business was started by two brothers, Ben and Nate Canary, after transforming their own bodies through their curated meal preps. They took their knowledge and created `a business: preparing healthy frozen single serve meals.
- Ben Canary says their meals are not just for weightlifters or people trying to lose weight. “Anybody who doesn’t have the time to eat a little healthier but they want to,” he noted.
- Not only does Herculean offer a variety of different types of meals, but they also offer gluten free, vegetarian, and keto-friendly meals. A single meal costs $9.99 but the cost goes down based on how many you purchase. “Most people get 7 or 14 [meals], then it goes to $8.99 they drop down in price as you go and get more,” said Canary.
- If you can’t make it into their location on E. 82nd Street, you can also visit Herculean inside The Garage Food Hall at Bottleworks or their new location in Fort Wayne. Plus, they ship their frozen meals nation-wide.
For more information on Herculean Meal Prep, check out the website by clicking here. For more photos and reviews by local Yelpers, check out their Yelp profile. You can also connect on social media via Facebook and Instagram.
Hungry to explore more in the Keystone/Clearwater area? Check out these local hot spots: